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‘Let CBI probe church attacks'

Staff Correspondent

Silent procession taken out in Mangalore against panel report



Airing their protest:Bishop of Mangalore Aloysius Paul D'Souza waving a black flag at a protest meeting at the Nehru Maidan in Mangalore on Sunday.

MANGALORE: A large number of people took out a silent procession from Bendoorwell to Nehru Maidan on Sunday in protest against the Justice B.K. Somasekhara Commission report on the September 2008 church attacks.

People from Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Kasargod districts participated in the procession organised under the leadership of the Catholic Diocese of Mangalore. The protestors with black bands around their mouth waved black flags as they proceeded towards the maidan. Addressing the protesters at the maidan, Bishop of Mangalore Aloysius Paul D'Souza said: “Those who had attacked the churches may have broken the crucifix and desecrated the Holy Communion, but they cannot destroy our faith in Jesus. We are pained by the attacks, but not frightened. Our faith has not been shaken.” The crowd responded to this with loud cheers.

He demanded that a CBI investigation be ordered into the attacks stating that the commission had “failed” to fulfil one of the terms of reference – finding out who was responsible for the attacks – for which it had been constituted.

Chairman of the Karnataka Missions Network Walter J. Maben said that the attacks were premeditated as they occurred simultaneously across the district for over two days.

The Government had been claiming that distribution of copies of “Satyadarshini”, a book, was the provocation for the attacks. However, the commission could not provide him a copy of the book in two years, he said.

“The commission itself could procure only two photocopies of the book. Possibly, Rs. 11 crore (expenditure of the commission) given by the Government was not enough to buy the books,” he said and added that the commission had not proved this allegation.

Councillor Mariamma Thomas said that Annexure XLVII of the report specifically mentioned the churches which were attacked by the Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagran Vedike and the Sangh Parivar.

She said: “We have been accused of conversion. I say we will continue to convert. We will convert people from ignorance to knowledge, the sick to healthy, the poor to rich, and sadness to happiness, because that is the message of Christ.”

In a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister, the diocese said that it rejected the report because the commission had “failed” to pinpoint the culprits of the attacks. It had given a clean chit to the police and had “failed” to consider the State as a whole.

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